Sunday, July 29, 2007

Capitalism amok at U.S. colleges and universities: Different costs for different degrees, with no concern for the poor

And, it seems to be a growing practice. But, a professor at one of the universities doing this lament the many things that are being discarded along with this:

“I want students in the College of Engineering at Iowa State to take courses in the humanities and to take courses in the social sciences,” said Mark J. Kushner, the dean of that college. To address problems like climate change, Mr. Kushner said, graduates will need to understand much more than technology. “That’s sociology, that’s economics, that’s politics, that’s public policy.”
Undergraduate juniors and seniors in the engineering school at Iowa State last year began paying about $500 more annually, he said, and the size of that additional payment is scheduled to rise by $500 a year for at least the next two years.
Mr. Kushner said he thought society was no longer looking at higher education as a common good but rather as a way for individuals to increase their earning power.
“There was a time, not that long ago, 10 to 15 years ago, that the vast majority of the cost of education at public universities was borne by the state, and that was why tuition was so low,” he said. “That was based on the premise that the education of an individual is a public good, that individuals go out and become schoolteachers and businessmen and doctors and lawyers, that makes society better. That’s no longer the perception.”

Here in Texas, you have someone like State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, who has said she wants the business model applied even to the extent of having universities run by CEO types rather than academically grounded presidents or chancellors.